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Obituaries Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, July 29, 2010

Madeline A. Magrew

BERNE — A long-time waitress and bus driver, Madeline A. Magrew loved her Hilltown life.

“She had a beautiful smile and a wonderful laugh,” said her daughter, Anita Dowse.

Mrs. Magrew died on Friday, July 23, 2010 at the age of 70. She was born in Albany on Nov. 24, 1939 to the late John and Helen Crosier. She was raised in Berne, and lived in both Berne and Pilot Knob, N.Y. She was a graduate of the Berne Knox Central Schools.

“I always referred to her as someone with a very direct candor,” Dowse said.

Mrs. Magrew’s other daughter, Valerie Komjathy, agreed.

“She was very strong willed,” said Mrs. Komjathy. “She sets her mind to stuff and she does it.”

They had many family picnics, and Mrs. Magrew, who loved to cook and bake, was known for bringing an abundance of pastries.

“She’d bake like 10 or 15 pies for the big family picnics,” said Mrs. Dowse. “She loved her family, loved her grandchildren, loved to have family picnics, and she loved to bake lots of pies.”

She also loved go to her camp in Lake George with her husband, John Magrew.

For 30 years, Mrs. Magrew drove school buses for Berne-Knox-Westerlo, and she especially loved working with the special needs children.

“She just had a rapport with them,” said Mrs. Komjathy of her mother with special-needs students. “Where other bus drivers couldn’t handle them, she would connect with them on a level they could understand, and she just never had any problems with them.”

Mrs. Magrew was a waitress at the Rest Seekers Inn in East Berne for over 20 years.

Mrs. Dowse recalls a story from her mother’s trip to Egypt: While on a boat going down the Nile River, she ran into a woman who was also from the town of Berne, though she was in no way associated with their party.

“We used to call her the mayor, because she knew everybody everywhere we went,” Mrs. Dowse laughed. “And she brought back some holy water, which was really great.”

Her family wrote in a tribute, “She is most remembered for making you feel welcome in her home; sharing childhood stories of pulling pranks; her direct candor; for making many pies and cooking for her family whom she loved so much. She enjoyed flowers, solitaire, and crossword puzzles for quiet time; and going to ‘the lake’ in Pilot Knob.”

“She loved her peaceful life on ‘the Hill’ in Berne,” her family wrote, “and had a smile and laugh that would light up the room.”


She is survived by her husband John “Jack” Magrew; five children, Thomas J. Komjathy and his wife, Katherine, Valerie L. Komjathy and her husband, John, Anita J.Dowse and her husband, Roger, John R. Magrew and his wife, Julie, and Shannon Anderson and her husband, Brian.

She is also survived by a brother, John Crosier Jr. and his wife, Vickie; 17 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Her son David S. Komjathy Jr. died before her as did her brother George Crosier.

A funeral service was held on Wednesday, July 28, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Berne, followed by an interment in Woodlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are by the Fredendall Funeral Home in Altamont.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Helderberg Ambulance, Post Office Box 54, East Berne, NY 12059.

— Zach Simeone

Elmer Potter

ALTAMONT — Elmer Potter, a truck driver and mechanic, was a devoted family man, the father of nine children.

He died on Wednesday, July 28, 2010, at the age of 64.

“He was a man of all trades and did a little of everything,” said his daughter, Diana Hart. “He loved his job driving trucks and fixing cars. He played pranks on his children with Bondo,” she said, explaining it is a resin used for auto repairs.

“He once told me it was frosting and to try it,” said Ms. Hart with a chuckle. “He had a great sense of humor.”

Mr. Potter enjoyed not just teasing his children, but being with them.

“He would hang out with us,” said his daughter. They liked listening to him play in a country music band, she said.

“He’d do our laundry, and bring us dinner at work,” she said. “He wanted to baby-sit for the grandchildren all the time.” He had pet names for his grandchildren — Punk, Peanut, Bustin, and Bunny.

Mr. Potter also enjoyed riding motorcycles and hunting deer. While he had many successful hunts in his youth, his daughter said, “When he got older, he just liked to get out in the woods.”

Mr. Potter was born in Vermont on Nov. 14, 1945, the son of the late Arlene Raybine. He was raised by his grandparents.

As a young man, Ms. Hart said, he worked as a mechanic for amusement parks and fairs and traveled all over the country.

“He has lots of good stories about those days,” she said.

Mr. Potter and his wife, Roseann, were happily settled in Altamont for 20 years. His Altamont friends know him as “Newt”; he was on a baseball team of that name, his daughter said.

“He took care of everyone,” said Ms. Hart. “He was very happy-go-lucky. He was straightforward with his mouth. If he didn’t like something, he’d tell you.”

She concluded, “My son says, ‘Grandpa always has the best stories.’” They talked about everything from hunting to history. “My father was a very intelligent man,” said Ms. Hart.


In addition to his wife, Roseanne Potter, Mr. Potter is survived by his nine children: Lisa, Bobby, John, Robert, Diana, Arlene, Beau, Elmer, and Bobby Jo.

He is also survived by his grandchildren: Christopher (Punk), Johanna (Peanut), Justin (Bustin), and Cameron (Bunny).

He is survived, too, by those who grew up in the Potter home and were like children to him: Richard, Joshua, Skippy, his godson Roger, Savannah, Austin, and Jeannie.

A calling hour will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. on Friday, July 30, at the New Comer Cannon Funeral Home at 343 New Karner Road in Colonie. A service will follow at 11 a.m.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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